85% of Aspies Are Unemployed… What A Crock!

I just ran across this statistic from a medical professional website recently. Refuting that absurd claim is what this post is all about.

Some in the professional field of Autism believe that Aspergers should be viewed as a different cognitive style rather than a disorder and therefore should not have been included in the Autism spectrum. In a paper written in 2002 by Simon Baron-Cohen talking about those with Aspie traits stated that “In the social world, there is no great benefit to a precise eye for detail, but in the worlds of math, computing, cataloging, music, linguistics, engineering, and science, such an eye for detail can lead to success rather than failure.”

It is nice to see that at least some in the medical community view Aspergers as not a disorder, just a different way of looking at much of the world.

There is a distinct contrast between the attitude of adults with self-identified Aspies such as me, who say we do not want to be cured and are proud of our identity; and parents of children with Aspergers, who typically seek assistance and a “cure” for their children.

Maybe if the study of Aspergers had been more advanced when I was in my childhood, it could have helped me understand why I was different from those around me, but then again the “cure” might have deprived me of some characteristics and experiences that proved valuable later in my life.

Plainly speaking (I try to not do anything but that) not all people with Aspergers, or even Autism need to have the label of “defective” attached to our name. In fact some even today will likely be damaged rather than helped by that diagnosis and the disrespect that comes with it.

As it turns out, current efforts of standardization of Aspergers medical diagnosis and it’s inclusion into the Autism spectrum have significantly diverged for Asperger’s original work fifty years ago. Back then Hans Asperger wrote:

“We are convinced, then, that these people have their place in the organism of the social community. They fulfill their role well, perhaps better than anyone else could, and we are talking of people who as children had the greatest difficulties and caused untold worries to their care-givers.” He went on to say he was thoroughly convinced that some Aspies would go on to exceptional achievements later in their lives. Of course that statement has since proved to be absolutely true.

Closing this very long post out, there is no cure for Aspergers as it is not a disease but just a different way of realizing the world around us. Yes, for some that way can be somewhat debilitating and remedial help is certainly needed in those cases, but for others such as me, it is simply who we are.

Now to finally get to the crock part of this post. It has been stated in medical journals that 85% of those with Aspergers are unemployed! In some very limited aspect that might be remotely valid but it is far from the truth. For one thing, for every person officially classified as an Aspie there are probably thirty or more who have not been officially diagnosed. Another fact is that the vast majority of those with an official diagnosis are less than 15 years old!

Those of us with Aspie traits don’t need people thinking that we are not productive members of our society. It is harmful to us and to many others who might buy into this myth.

2 comments

  1. Why are we cursing and medicating a whole generation?
    Speak it! Write it! This is crazy! Ready for some background?
    Autism used to be used for those most severe- co morbid with a mental handicapped or Tourretts or simply could not do any social norms (severe invasion of space, inappropriate speech….). The diagnoses was at or before age 5.
    Aspergers used to be for those who had laser focused character traits. They were often co morbid with ADHD. Socially shy, most found their way. Traits are more often found in boys….
    My teaching style had lots of movement, talk(learning how to talk) and individual exploration of topics. Put two Aspies together and they often found unique solutions. “These” kids thrived in my class. I am not a good “pleaser teacher”- so the society people hated my classroom.
    As a teacher, I could help children with both- but the Autistic kids just needed a different guidance. They needed many more services as they grew older. I have taught about seven Autistic children in my 30 years. I have probably delighted with several hundred Aspies.

    People with Autism cannot join the military. They can get dependent Social Security (SSI) with medicare with Autism because they cannot “function well”. They probably need job placement- in Goodwill or a repetitive job.

    About ten years ago someone decided that Aspies, as a category, should be lumped in with Autism.
    I cannot tell you how many parents suddenly rushed to get their child diagnosed. The poor wanted the SSI. The middles wanted services . The rich wanted an excuse why Joe was not an A student and couldn’t get into Harvard. It was a “cool” diagnosis. The number of children with Autism exploded.
    We, as teachers, were told that ALL “these” children needed one on one to learn their own way and OHHH so much more.
    No longer was I to say to Joe, who could name every dinosaur’s name before he was three, “hey, you should look into being a paleontologist!” (Heck, most of those kids are now professionals.) Now I had to say, ” mommy thinks you are too focused, probably autistic. You need extra help to be a regular kid” Our society only helps those who are outside of the norm in a negative light….
    No wonder they are not getting employed. They have been taught that a gift is a curse. This is one of the HUGE reasons I left the classroom.

    Aspie is a gift, a real gift. Do you know how many people wish they could laser focus?
    Not every chid needs to be the factory worker that our public schools strive to put out.
    Some Aspies are stuck in the wrong field.Often a field made serious money- a social plus.
    Even in that field, they are usually at the top of it.

    Like

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